CD Release Party ‘Realm Of Shadows’
September 26, 2009 - Het Kasteel, Alphen a/d Rijn (NL)
Most bands that present their new album in front of a live audience start their gig with a set containing only music from the back catalogue. Most of the time they perform audience favourites to get the public in the right mood before delivering their new album in the second set. I think many people were surprised that Knight Area had chosen to perform the new material, written for their latest album Realm Of Shadows, in the first set. That was probably the best way to get rid of the usual stage fright before an important show. Just start with the difficult job and perform the well-known material later. By choosing this sequence, the people in the merchandise stand also had a good time. They sold probably more new albums than usual during the break, for everyone in the audience was already familiar with the new material.
Well, let’s focus on the music, that’s what ultimately matters the most. At the sound of a mysterious tune, lead singer Mark Smit entered the stage to sing the first vocal lines of Ethereal. He wore a kind of frock, about the same one you can see on the cover of the new CD. It was a great idea to visualize that cover to get in the right mood for the new songs. However, Knight Area generally doesn’t need tricks or visuals, but most prog heads love theatrical aspects such as masques and costumes. The brand-new songs showed that the sound of the band didn’t change in comparison to their previous released material. The fantastic guitar solo by Mark Vermeule on the second track Antagony contained all the prog elements we like so much. We could enjoy great instrumental intermezzos during the two instrumental pieces Momentum and Awakening. Towards the end of the first set, Mark Smit returned on stage still dressed in the frock. This time the colour had changed from white to black.
After the band’s performance of the new album they went off stage in order to do a ‘meet and greet’ during the break. The new material performed proved to be very solid, but it needed time to get into my system since the songs from their first two albums had a bigger impact on me. After the break, Knight Area opened with Dreamweaver taken from their second album. The band made less mistakes and looked more relaxed after the break. Dreamweaver was the start of something special for both the audience and the band. The second set became one big highlight, but I have to mention one song in particular: The Sun Also Rises. Without this song, a Knight Area-concert is not satisfactory for me. The instrumental title track from their first album is just awesome and a real showcase for all band members. The fantastic playing of Gijs Koopman on his bass and bass pedals, the technical drumming skills of Pieter van Hoorn, the extra keyboard parts played by Mark Smit on his portable keyboards, the fantastic keyboard solos of Gerben Klazinga and the emotional guitar parts of Mark Vermeule. This song has it all and brings out the best in the musicians. The last song performed during the regular set was Mortal Brow, one of the classic Knight Area tracks. It was too bad that the excellent guitar solo in the end didn’t reach the same level as the one performed by Rini Huigen when he was still in the band. Together with Joop Klazinga, the other former member of Knight Area, Rini found himself in the audience. They saw the band come back on stage to do the last encore.
The second part of Different Man got a great response after it was finished. It showed again that Knight Area is one of the best live acts from The Netherlands. If you have the chance to see them, don’t miss their excellent stage presentation!
Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
Click on the album cover to go to the album review.
Set list:Set 1:
Two of a Kind
Real of Shadows
A Million Lives
Different Man part 1
The Sun Also Rises
Different Man part 2
Pictures by Arthur Haggenburg
Click on the picture to enlarge.
Line up: (left to right)Pieter van Hoorn:
drums, backing vocals
bass, bass pedals
lead vocals, portable keyboard
guitars, backing vocals
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